How effective is your sales team? Pretty good? Do they spend most of their time trying to hunt down potential clients, only to hear "I'm not interested"? Customers hate cold calling, but you knew that. Inbound Marketing hates cold calling too. We discuss why Sales and Inbound are a match made in heaven.
The methodology behind Inbound Marketing involves creating remarkable content to attract your 'ideal' customers. Inbound focuses on creating helpful content for people to view, download and share in exchange for their contact information. This non-interruptive, helpful angle is why it contrasts what sales people have traditionally been known for forever (cold calling like the chap with the moustache).
By offering easy to access, quality content (at the right time), customers are more likely to interact with you. From each download, comment or view, your sales team should be finding out what the person is interested in to help shape their sales pitch.
Inbound Marketing can get you more information about potential customers and help sales teams focus their energy toward the right people.
Your sales team need to weaponise Inbound Marketing
Learning what your leads are interested in puts the sales team in such a great position. No more small talk, no more scatter gun approach to the services you offer. The sales team can have efficient and productive calls everytime. An effective CRM is the first step to gathering all this intel in one place. Use a good one, use it often.
Categorising and scoring leads
As a prospect interacts with your company, they travel along what is known as the Buyer's Journey. This journey is based on the reasearch process we all go through before buying something. It's made up of the following stages:
- Awareness - customer is aware they need more information about a problem or topic so they are actively researching online
- Consideration - customer understands their situation and they consider looking for a solution to help them
- Decision - customer has discovered the right solution for them and is preparing to decide what to do next
From the content people have downloaded from your website, the sales team should be able to determine what section of the Buyer's Journey the potential customer is on. This is pivotal to the correct approach for sales. Now they can send emails with helpful, timely content or reach out directly to help the prospect move onto the next segment of the journey. Using the buyers journey should infact allow sales to pick up the phone much less.
Whilst a CRM is great for gathering intel, what's even more useful to the sales team is it's email automation. By setting up template emails and triggers based on interaction with your site, you'll be able to construct a dynamic flow of messages that educate and assist the customer at exactly the right time. Set it up once and apart from the odd tweak you won't need to touch it!
Getting to know the Persona
As part of your Inbound strategy you need to create Buyer Personas to help you create content that will be engaging. Once you're clear on who your ideal customer is - make sure your marketing always addresses their needs and solves their problems.
Your sales teams should be consulted throughout the creation of these personas as they of all people should know the customer base better than anyone.
Try making your own persona to see how you can learn more about your customers.
Improve reach online
The strategies and content you create from Inbound Marketing will improve your reach online. Your social media messages and even your paid ads can be created to follow the Inbound methodology and attract people to your site. Promoting helpful and relevant content will help improve engagement with your ideal customers and give more leads to your sales team.
Evergreen content on your website
Good content is built to last. The beauty of creating a decent blog is that it can rank for months, or even years if it's good enough. The cost of running an add for the same amount of time would be significant. Don't forget that most customers (or personas) will come to your site with the same questions. You can write blog posts or pages answering timeless questions and your content will not age. You may want to update the content if new information comes along but this content isn't time sensitive so it will stay forever green.
Having evergreen content is always a plus to get more traffic to your website and increase future leads.
Reciprocity in action
Reciprocity describes how a positive action can encourage a person to respond positively to you. The whole methodology of Inbound Marketing is based on this positive social action. With Inbound, you are offering FREE content and from this positive gesture, customers are more likely to react positively in return to your sales team.
Authority is king
Whilst you post blogs, create eBooks and join in the conversation online - outsiders looking in attribute a higher level of authority to you as an individual, and the company or brand you are working on behalf of.
Becoming a thought leader is one of the secondary effects of Inbound Marketing. By talking-the-talk regularly and in the correct way, you'll be carving open up the chance to walk-the-walk with your prospects.
Increases Social Proof
Social Proof is another one of those psychological principles marketers often overlook when creating copy. Moreover your sales team may be overlooking this when reaching out to people or wondering how inbound can help them. Great content is inherently shareable, and the more content a prospect sees of yours around the web, featured on other sites or simply widely shared on social media - the more inclined they are to think that your opinion is reputable and to be trusted.
Anyone can do it
Whilst regularly scheduling great content and writing the perfect piece if copy is no mean feat - the reality is that anyone can put forward an idea, type up a short paragraph or provide some bullet points to an internal writer.
Inbound allows the Sales team to share their expertise and play a direct role in the messages and information a brand is communicating. Sharing views and creating content brings the sales cycle full circle and allows the sales team to start the conversation and close it.
Now you know how Inbound helps lead generation for B2B, it's time to discover how it can revolutionise your entire business:
Do you work in sales? Have you used Inbound to better your conversion? Share your tips below: